Did you know that tartar and your heart have a connection? And I'm not talking a love connection. Your oral health is directly related to your general health and your heart health. The bottom line is that the worse your gum disease, the higher your risk of suffering a heart attack.
The Role Tartar Plays
Tartar is the hardened plaque. Plaque can generally be removed with good, regular flossing and brushing. When it does not get removed it hardens. When it hardens it becomes tartar and tartar can only be removed by a hygienist. Tartar causes inflammation in the gums due to a buildup of bacteria that feed on the tartar. This bacteria causes bad breath, increases risk for abscesses, causes periodontitis and may contribute to heart disease.
How Your Heart is Affected by Tartar
There are a couple methods being studied. One theory is the bacteria formed by excessive tartar enters the blood stream and attaches to blood vessel walls. As these spots continue to increase, the risk for clots to form in the blood increase. Clots are a real threat as they can cause a heart attack if they become dislodged at some point. And all blood vessels lead to the heart. Some believe that the inflammation itself triggers the formation of clots in the blood. As clots are formed in blood vessels, the heart has to pump harder. This increases blood pressure, a risk factor for heart attack as well.
Who knew that taking care of your teeth would also be taking care of your heart. Staying on top of regular cleanings and checkups will ensure that any tartar that has formed is removed in a timely fashion. And if you already have gum disease, it isn't the end of the road. Your dentist has treatments available to get your gums (and heart!) healthy again.
If you are suffering from tartar, please contact us today!